What do you do when you have some acreage, a green thumb and an idea? You put all those pieces together and turn it into a successful business franchise.
At least that’s what Monet Bonson has done; she has created ‘Blooming Success’ – a business that thrives in the agriculture-rich Central Valley. With a motto of ‘Hanging by the seed of my plants’, Bonson has steadily built up her clientele and now has customers throughout the region. They go on her website, thebloomingsuccess.com, where they can create a produce box, order fresh flowers, honey, even ginger shots and have the goods delivered to their door.
Delivery is available to several locations in the 209 and Bonson also features other products such as handmade soaps, peanuts, olive oil, syrups and more.
When she first started the business, Bonson was a fixture at local farmers’ markets and also would periodically load up her specially designed van and head out on the road, stopping at several locations, essentially a mobile fruit and vegetable market. But as she became more well-known and started expanding her offerings, it just made more sense to transition to an online presence, where people can create their own orders and she can make deliveries to specific homes, as opposed to multiple stops in a town or city.
“It’s the way of the world and I’ve been trying to adapt to that,” Bonson said of taking online orders and creating her delivery route based on those orders.
The acreage where Bonson grows everything from grapes to long beans is off Orange Blossom Road between Oakdale and Knights Ferry. She doesn’t use pesticides, so those ordering her produce can be assured it is natural.
Grapes grow on a trellis that creates an archway just outside her home leading to the large, expansive garden beyond.
“We have the green Thompson grapes, the Merlot, red seedless,” she explained of the locally grown varieties. “They’re beautiful.”
Sunflowers rise above the garden, planted specifically for the bees in the nearby bee boxes to help produce the honey.
“We love our bees,” Bonson said. “I also love to grow herbs so I can put them in my flower arrangements.”
The garden itself offers up plenty of produce to choose from, everything from tomatoes to cucumbers, Armenian cucumbers, peppers, eggplant, watermelon, tomatillos, cantaloupe, carrots and more.
Many of her clients are those she cultivated a relationship with during her farmers’ market days, Bonson explained.
“Now they order a box online, I get a notice and we coordinate what time would work for delivery,” she said. “Also if they want anything really specific, I can customize it.”
Bonson and her husband Roger have lived on the Orange Blossom property for about 20 years; trees lining the curved driveway were planted by Roger when they first arrived, now they provide a picturesque shade canopy.
Roger also helps out in the business venture, overseeing the tomatoes, green beans and peppers as well as fashioning some flashy, spinning deterrents to keep the raccoons at bay.
For the fall, pumpkins and spaghetti squash come into season, while Bonson said she is also growing loofahs, just to keep things interesting and always evolving.
Three rescue dogs – Polly, Tazzy and Chance – live on the property as well, a very loud but ultimately friendly welcoming committee.
“The flowers for bouquets, I just forage,” Bonson said of crafting the colorful bouquets with the abundant wildflowers, adding in the fresh herbs for a unique and fragrant twist.
Venturing into other areas, Bonson said she does create smoothie cups out of her produce and also has been doing a lot of juicing and freezing the fresh juice for later use.
Prior to moving to the Oakdale area, the Bonsons lived in Redwood City, where there wasn’t much space for gardening.
“My husband built me a raised bed planter,” Bonson said of getting her start and honing her gardening skills.
When they moved here, she was excited about the acreage and the opportunity it presented.
“It has probably been 10 years that I’ve been in business,” she said, adding that along with the produce boxes, she has several clients for her plant company. Through that endeavor, she waters indoor plants as well as taking care of outdoor planters and flower pots, adding color to area businesses and homes.
Over the years, she has been able to hire local teens to help out summers in the garden, keeping the weeds under control and assisting with the harvest.
While the property, a sprawling family complex, covers about 23 acres, only a few are devoted specifically to the garden.
“It’s pretty concentrated because we’re river bottom and everything grows very, very well,” Bonson noted.
Roughly eight acres in total are devoted to the business, including space for the bee boxes, flowers, some chickens, the grapes and the garden produce.
Many of her customers have been with her for years and Bonson said one repeat customer gets two boxes every week, one fruit and one vegetable, happy to take whatever is in season.
“She says ‘It’s like Christmas’,” Bonson said of the woman’s excitement when the boxes are delivered and she can dig in to see what surprises await.
“Sometimes I deliver a flower arrangement (ordered for someone by another) and they say ‘this made my week’,” added Bonson.
The flower arrangements were a big hit during COVID when many people were housebound, friends often sending a large, colorful bouquet to brighten someone’s day.
Bonson said while the big box stores and large online retailers have their place, she also is keenly aware of the need to buy local.
“When I moved to a smaller town, I knew I wanted to support the people, the businesses here,” she pointed out.
To that end, she has products from some fellow local entrepreneurs that can be ordered and included in the boxes, from hand dipped chocolate covered caramel pretzels to handmade soap. She is also working with a grower in Waterford to add in more produce. Other items will be in stock for the holidays as well and anyone can log on to the site and create an order.
June and July are traditionally the busiest months for Bonson, and she launched the new website in June of this year. Between now and the height of harvest next year, she plans to fine tune the website and make it as user friendly as possible, along with adding more vegetables in to the repertoire and hopefully building an area for planting their own flowers for the bouquet side of the business.
“Our goal is to provide carefully curated unique products that evoke a smile when delivered to your door,” the company’s Mission Statement says. “You can feel good about each purchase you make at The Blooming Success because each one of our hand selected items are grown locally or hand made by artisans in and around our community.”
It’s all part of the interconnection that helps each other thrive, said Bonson.
The mission statement continues: “In addition to supporting our community of craftsmen and farmers we also donate 5 percent to local charities within our community.”
Bonson can be reached at 209-595-2540 for additional information. You can also place an order at thebloomingsuccess.com or go online and visit Blooming Success on Facebook.